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Finish for tea tray to hold up to hot liquids

736 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  jamesburgh
Hey, new here, not new to woodworking. I've made some furniture and have average hobbyist skills. I want to make a draining tea tray like the one pictured. Mine will probably look different, but this is just to show you what I'm talking about. The idea is that making tea with certain pots can get messy and this will catch the (hot) spills and then you just drain it afterwards. I've found them for sale online, but haven't found any info about making one. I'm fine coming up with the design and construction but not sure what finish to use. It needs to be able to have very hot tea come in contact with it and hold up reasonably well. It would be drained in less than an hour. I'm still deciding on wood species.

Basically, I realize this is not an ideal situation for a wooden object, but I'm going to make it regardless and just want to increase the life of the finished product (even if I have to accept it will have a limited life). Also, I'm okay with relatively expensive wood for this as it's not terribly large. I've thought about teak, or something similar. My favorite overall species is walnut. Oh, and I am familiar with using marine epoxy if that could work. I've done a little light boatbuilding but never really needed for it to be as thin as I'd want here and then there's the hot water issue (I don't take my boat into any boiling lakes).

Any assistance is appreciated. Thanks.



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welcome to the forum, James.
what part of the world are you in ?
my wife is Chinese and she often makes her special blend of tea
in one of those little pots that when the herbs expand, the liquid
does overflow and makes a mess. so I fully understand your project.
as for the occasional wetting issue, any kind of hard film finish
will work. it does not have to be a food safe finish as nobody drinks
the spilled tea - it is discarded and the tray will be rinsed clean and dried.
I would stay away from water based finishes and go with an oil based
oil like Pure Tung Oil (not Homer Formby's) or a walnut oil, etc.
then when needed, apply a renewing coat, like you would with a cutting board.
please come back and share your journey with us.
it is very rare we get to see a specialized project like this.
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Thanks John. I'm in Florida as well (I'm assuming that's what your screen name implies). Yeah, it wouldn't need to be food safe, just as durable as possible, even when the liquid on it can be pretty warm. I'll try to remember to post some updates after I make it.
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